Seminar given by Dana Ballard of the University of at Texas at Austin to the Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience at UC-Berkeley on March 19, 2008.
Models of cortical signaling typically focus on the problem of representing the content of the signal and ignore many other constraints that are needed to make a signaling strategy work in large networks. These constraints arise from a consideration of the system within which an individual neuron or circuit is embedded. We explore these constraints with respect to rate coding and delay coding models of thalamo-cortical signaling. While rate coding has the advantage of being a simple strategy, it is seen to have many difficulties in satisfying network constraints. In contrast, delay coding has the prospect of both handling system constraints as well as reproducing single cell observations.